When a person dies without a will institutions such as banks, insurance companies and superannuation funds will often require someone to be granted Letters of Administration before funds of the deceased are released.
A Grant of Administration operates much like a Grant of Probate. The person who applies for and is granted Administration is called the administrator/adminisratrix. The administrator/adminisratrix acts as the deceased’s legal personal representative.
To apply for letters of administration you must be
1. over 18 years old
2. a resident of NSW
3. one of the following:
a. the spouse of the deceased, or
b. one or more of the next of kin of the deceased, or
c. the spouse conjointly with one or more of the next of kin of the deceased
If there is no one who falls into the above categories the Court may appoint someone who it believes fit to be trusted with the office whether they are a creditor of the deceased or not.
To successfully apply for Letters of Administration the applicant must satisfy the court the deceased did not leave a will. The applicant must show that a thorough a search for the will has been conducted and no will has been found. Searches and inquiries need to be made of the deceased's:
- personal effects and papers
- place of business
- solicitors, former solicitors and other solicitors in the area where the deceased lived or worker
- banks and other financial institutions
- the Registry for deposited wills
- the Wills Registry at the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages
- the NSW Trustee and Guardian (formerly the Public Trustee)
- private organisations, such as the Australian Wills Registry
Once appointed, the administrator/administratrix is responsible for gathering in and realising the deceased assets and distributing the estate according to the rules of intestacy as set out in Chapter Four of the Succession Act 2006.
If you want to apply for letters of administration and require the assistance of an experienced lawyer call us on 02 8268 4000.